Project development is geared towards digitizing an existing process or accomplishing a task with a clear business priority. This process leaves no room for uncertainty and implies using conventional methods for project implementation: development and prototyping. As a part of this process, we also provide a full statement of work and document all the project details.
Product development, by contrast, involves a high degree of uncertainty. It is often hard to prioritize tasks. Here, our research objective is to identify the relevance and necessity of the intended functionality for end users. Given the rapidly changing external context, no requirement specification is needed.
There are three main research stages:
Usually, this stage is required when a company aims to create something completely new and different. In this case, it is particularly important to find out whether competitors have similar practices. We research the market and determine the functionality needed for a user to complete a certain task. It minimizes the risks of discovering there is no demand for your product once it's already launched. As a result, we get a clear understanding of the core functionality and extra "wow" features. We present our findings in a detailed report and provide further feedback.
Communication with business stakeholders
We approach the task with an understanding of the current market situation. Our team spends several sessions on discussing the product backlog that would address your business objectives. It's important to start with the top- priority objective, conduct user groups (by selecting the users that could contribute the most to the project development), and then draw up a list of particularly relevant features (user stories). As a result, you get a set of clearly defined and priority-ranked tasks.
Interaction with users
Even when the functionality is ready, our job is not yet finished—there are still risks of having no demand for a product. That is why we verify our hypotheses and validate the proposed solution by communicating with the end user. Here, we use three key methods:
Our methodology was first applied for Wikimart—home appliances online store—in 2016. The company was investing a lot of money and efforts in developing and promoting its website, but their profits were declining instead of increasing. It raised many questions: how to avoid losses, develop a promotion strategy with minimal risks to the business, and increase customer loyalty?
After discussing all these challenges, we started to work on the basic concept. First of all, we needed to figure out if there was a need for the mobile app. Market players tend to believe that mobile solutions are mostly about service standards and convenience. In this case, however, our research proved it to be a necessary step to boost customer loyalty.
The next question was, how to retain the audience?
We identified the main tools used to interact with a customer: catalog, basket, purchase history, and loyalty rewards.
Together with the client, we decided to focus our efforts on this kind of features and start with bringing the loyalty program to the center stage.
Further research findings led us to generate new ideas and approach the task from other perspectives, which is a standard practice—we simply rearrange the priorities and edit the statement of work accordingly. For example, while addressing the audience loyalty issue, our attention gradually shifted to engaging with cold customers. As a result, the client changed the business objective and we, in turn, managed to quickly adapt and ensure we were on the same page again.
Sometimes we are asked to provide research- related training without diving into a specific business problem. In this case, we share our knowledge, experiences, and skills so that you could independently address arising challenges. We are currently working on such a project.
Pre-project research often helps minimize risks and avoid unnecessary costs associated with the development of a brand new product.
Still have questions? We will be glad to answer!